Marine charged in death of 20-month-old stepdaughter

Posted at 2:03 PM, Jun 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-29 17:03:21-04

A former active-duty Marine is facing murder charges in connection with the death of his stepdaughter, according to a report by KYMA in Yuma, Arizona.

Jared Cardwell is accused in the May 19, 2015, death of 20-month-old Celine Matus-Carreno. According to KYMA, the child was found dead at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, where Cardwell was stationed at the time.

An autopsy performed by Dr. Gregory Hess of Pima County found that the toddler had small circular, nickel-sized marks all over her face.

KYMA reported that Hess testified the toddler died from blunt force trauma to the head, and he noted that there were bruises all over her body and chemical burns on her face.

Cardwell was arrested and held at a brig at MCAS Miramar, KYMA reported. He also appeared in an MCAS Miramar court for an initial hearing late last year.

On Wednesday, an MCAS Miramar official issued this statement:

"The Yuma District Attorney’s office confirmed that they would prosecute the case. Cardwell was administratively separated from the United States Marine Corps for commission of a serious offense."

The Department of Child Safety received no prior reports involving Cardwell or the child.